in my mind I am constantly travelling travelling travelling

in my mind I am constantly travelling travelling
like Jack Kerouac in ’47 or Robert M Pirsig in ’68
I am Don Quixote tilting at windmills on Rocinante
I am Che Guevara astride his La Poderosa steed

in my mind I am here, there, I am everywhere
I am hiding between the pages of your dreams
I am hiking the wild PCT with Cheryl Strayed
or getting lost in the woods with Bryson and bears

in my mind I am Odysseus adrift on the high seas
I am Christopher Robin leading an expodition
I am climbing an icy north face in a blizzard
or riding jet streams in a Phileas Fogg balloon

in my mind I am a painter of landscapes
out in the fresh air with Monet and Cézanne
I am constantly restless, a writer gone walkabout
a Rimbaud, a Huck Finn, a Dice Man, a Guthrie

in my mind I am constantly travelling travelling
I am Titus Groan and I am never coming back
I am an Ishmael, a Baggins, Le Grand Meaulnes
so won’t you come along and share the ride . . .

in my mind you will come with me, won’t you?
we will journey to the centre of the Earth
to the moon and back and over the far horizon
for there we will find our next adventure story

in my mind the auditorium is fast filling up
the Milky Way and stars providing the lighting
the greatest untold CinemaScope moving picture
is about to begin travelling travelling travelling

and I don’t need anyone to tell me when to start or finish!

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photo of rock graffiti taken in the Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Kentucky
11 Sept 2016.

written for and inspired by my lovely poetry friend
and fellow word traveller V.J. Knutson:
“There are endless places to visit, and so much to see,
and these mini-journeys down memory lane
make me wistful once again, to take flight.”

Please visit: https://onewomansquest.org/2018/09/07/cbw-open-topic/

Please visit: https://vjknutson.org/2018/09/09/departure-2/

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Wyoming Wanderings

Your mind can wander out here
That’s not always a good thing
And time can be a distraction
I try to leave my windows open
Allow the scenery to breeze right in
Absorption without discussion

A while back
My speed touched 70
I wandered out into the scrub
Clambered down into a dried up river bed
It twisted and turned alongside the road
Meandering like my thoughts
I wondered what it would be like in winter
Or during a flash flood
In full spate like my thoughts

I imagined being bitten by a snake
Should I keep my leg up or down?
Would I make it to a hospital?
How far was the nearest town?

I stop to photograph a graffitied boulder
Two Dogs Was Here
Imagine one of those tumbling down
Crushing my car
Futile attempts to steer out the way
Two seconds of panic
Then

When you start to wander you see things
Nature’s sidewalk secrets revealed
A fox disturbed from his shady nook
Signs of wild animals
Tracks, scrapes
Holes, faeces
Tread carefully
Broken glass
Grasshoppers

See how the rain shapes the land
Makes the plants bloom
And the sun cracks the sand
It’s alive and dead
Weathered
Lived in
Worn
Out

This place makes you feel alive
The wind and the potential
Danger lurking
I have to move on but I am drawn
To the contorted pock marked boulders
The dried grasses
Pale straw piss yellow
The sound of their seed heads
A solitary purple flower
Everything

I’m standing near to where I saw the fox
But he’s long gone or well hidden
Perhaps keeping an eye on me
Mistrustful beings both
Hunters and murderers
Wary wanderers

I turned with a smile
Took one last photograph
I had found what I had come looking for
A bend in the road
Sweetwater County
Wyoming State Highway 430
Rock Springs to the Colorado border

But now it’s time to move on.

 

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3 poems inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s Wind from the Sea painting viewed in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC on this day in 2016.

Wind from the Sea

In an upstairs room
At the end of the hall
Sat the man
On a cast iron bed

Bare boards and naked bulb
Unlit in the evening’s decline
The field outside viewed
Through a half-opened sash window
Two net curtain ghosts
Floating like torn shrouds
On a saintly breeze

No-one had been this way for years
He wasn’t even sure he was still breathing
Not since the birds had stopped singing
Or the rain falling

For all was dust and peeling paper
Cracked and dry
Parched as a hobo’s lips in summer
Crippled as a beggar on a city street corner
Sky white
Unending
Questioning

The man sighed away his seconds

(20th June 2017)

 

The View Behind

The man turned to see
her lain upon the bed
The glimmering girl with
apple blossom hair
The wind from the sea
caressed her cheeks
Whispered lullabies
far too sweet

Rising from the edge
of dark reverie
He threw a shadow
upon her face
A rippled splash
in which he sank
Like silver trout
after the fly

And down the hall
retraced his steps
The pictures hung
on tired threads
From light to dark
and back again
A mirrored room
cast iron bed

He sat and watched
the view behind

(22nd June 2017)
with some borrowing from
The Song of Wandering Aengus
by William Butler Yeats

 

Pictures at an Exhibition

The older I get
The less I understand women…

He could feel her nails clawing at his back
But he would not look round –
To apologise twice would be grovelling
And what was done was done

The fact that she still wants me to, well
It’s tantamount to reliving the original act
And I’m not having any of that
Not after all these years

Besides
Life was only ever meant to be a work of fiction
Like pictures at an exhibition or walking down the hall
From one identical room to another

You continue to take away from it what you want
Regardless of any stillborn intent –
The fact that you keep bringing it up
Doesn’t make a jot of difference to me

He knew this would raise her hackles
Even from the dead she still taunted him
Every fucking day the same
It was why he had moved out here

To get away from your fury
But you had to follow me and haunt me
And fill my head and house with anger
Whilst outside the landscape remains empty –

The less he understood women
The older he got…

(24th June 2017)

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Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)
tempera on hardboard, 1947
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA

 

 

New York Poem

I was feeling like the guy
who walks up and down my street
pausing on the corners
eyes to the ground
not knowing which way to turn

when a security guard
off-duty State Transit Authority
tapped me on the shoulder
eyes alight with bourbon
voice crackling like fire
fingers stained with nicotine
brow wet with September sweat

we shook clammy hands
he shared some pleasantries
my nervousness dissipating just a little
as he lurched away with a halfhearted wave
brown paper bag and bottle

down the block
the streetwise black kids
practiced lazy breakdance moves
in their casual tracksuits
a hip-hop crew of hoodlum dudes
doing a pretty good job at
coming across as menacing
which worked fine on me
the out of town foreign tourist
with the wrong white accent
and the backpack a dead cert giveaway
so too the crumpled map

better grab some food quick
before my all-night bus to New York city

Niagara Falls was awesome btw
looking over the edge
wondering what would it be like
to go over it in a barrel?

instead the bus had taken me over
the Peace Bridge into Buffalo
into the U. S. of A.
and I had cleared customs with ease
surprising considering the way I looked
and smelt

I used a $50 bill at a burger bar
bought food and soda for the journey
dumped my bag in the luggage compartment
almost fell off the bus steps
when this drunk guy pushed past me
offering to sell gold chains and smokes
on the way

I was leaving on the 9pm
ETA at NYC approximately 8.10am
arrived tired and disorientated
phoned Adam’s sister from a call box
who vented her annoyance at being woken up
and no she couldn’t put me up
and would I please fuck off
the phone line going dead

I bought myself a pair of moccasin ankle boots
from the Native American Tourist Shop at 8.30am
twenty three dollars and seventy nine cents after tax
decided to hole up in The Sloane House YMCA
on West 34th Street
in hindsight not the best of choices
but it got me out of the rain

my room was a cell in what appeared to be
a lunatic asylum for dropouts
freaks and lost travellers like me
turned out it was the largest residential YMCA in the USA
which explained all the nutters
didn’t dare use the communal showers

but man
the view from the top of the Empire State
was jaw-dropping
despite my camera not working
and the man with the warts all around his eyes
pressed tight up against the telescope
his wife clutching at his side

New York City – imagine that!
Tell me, what’s it like to be a skateboard punk rocker?
I borrowed those lines from Michelle Shocked
Wow, New York, just like I pictured it
Skyscrapers and everything

and I borrowed those from Stevie Wonder

WORLD TRADE CENTRE
BROOKLYN & HARLEM
STATUE OF LIBERTY
CENTRAL PARK
MANHATTAN

THE BRIDGES
THE RIVERS
THE DOCKS
THE YELLOW TAXIS IN THE STREETS

grand canyons
monument valleys
next stop FLA

all of which of course
means nothing much to anyone
except perhaps a younger me
who no longer exists
or recognises himself
in a mirror

 

selfportrait

I
look out
and try to find
blue and crimson skies
where birds fly from the corners of my eyes
and a copse of trees on a wilderness road
is a little piece of England in Wyoming
where the shadows breathe life into the rocks
and the wolf within me sniffs the summer air

I am
alone and I am
a traveller and I am here and now
in no other time or dimension or space
there are pieces of broken seashells in my pocket
the sharp edges a reminder of sand between my toes
my burnt shoulders a reminder of childhood
when I walked these shores without a care
doing what children ought to do in silence

I understand
the importance of being alive
although I cannot comprehend the meaning of it
the days are numbered with my personal DNA sequence
another unfathomable equation that directs me
and sends me spinning through these landscapes
like an out of control meteorite on a collision course
that urges me to bend down and pick at the desert gravel
to find the piece that fits snugly in my mind

I
of course I can
it’s as easy as buying a ticket and jumping on a plane
there’s no glue to bind me like gravity to this planet
I can come and go as I please and take my leave
wave to you from afar or hold you near
my reason is to journey and never arrive
the call of the wild lulls me to sleep
and in your arms I slumber peacefully

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The Postcard Poet

I recently started a little side project using my travel and hiking photos. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter and occasionally here. Links below. Hope you like:

e

Twitter: @ThePostcardPoet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/postcardpoet/

into the arterial flow

into the arterial flow
we inject ourselves daily

a travels to b’s zone
and b travels to a’s

conduits become congested
coughing and spluttering

we swap our places
me to you to you to me

and is it any wonder
productivity suffers

when we are all on the move
never settled in body or spirit

imagine if you will
a world devoid of hurly-burly

where sunny spells string together
and rain showers meet at midnight

think of the laundry we could dry
like prayer flags flying on mountains

or coloured kites in the sky flying
now wouldn’t that be nice

for a change.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/gingerly/

 

 

looking over the edge…

I have been to the ends of the Earth
And looked over the edge
There was darkness the depth of which
Took away my breath and left me speechless
Come away from there you cried
But the pull was too great
The drop too enticing
The thrill seeking adrenaline junkie
Cliff jumping euphoria was too appealing
I was mesmerised for those few minutes
Captivated in a traumatised trance
Gripped by something other worldly
Temptation raged war through my blood
Pounded brain cells to incomprehension
Made me question my former sanity
Places I had travelled
People I had seen
Their homes and faces staring back at me
Laughing and cajoling and beckoning to me
And then
Your hand
Touched my arm
Your words
Brushed the darkness away
And retreating
I found your quiet embrace
The souvenir seller
The vendor of forgiveness
The future holder of all life’s secrets
And I bought them all and promised you
Never
Never
Never
Would I go again to the ends of the Earth
And look over the edge to be tempted by the darkness that lies beneath.

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Daily one word prompt: Darkness